Covid has left 2million without work through furlough or job cuts

Covid-19 lockdown has left TWO MILLION people without work through furlough or job cuts amid fears we are sitting on an employment timebomb

  • Resolution Foundation says 1.9million are unable to work after losing their jobs
  • It says 20% of these fear they will remain jobless when the furlough scheme ends
  • Think tank estimates Covid will leave high debt level and mental health problems

Nearly two million people have been unable to work for at least six months after losing their jobs in the pandemic or being placed on furlough, a think-tank report said yesterday.

The Resolution Foundation puts the figure at 1.9million – compared to official statistics showing 1.2million.

It says one in five of these people fear they will remain jobless or their roles will vanish when the taxpayer-funded furlough scheme stops on April 30.

A report by the think tank Resolution Foundation estimates that around 1.9 million people have been unable to work for at least six months after losing a job or being furloughed in pandemic

The report suggests a ‘long Covid’ in the labour market will add to the after-effects of the pandemic, which are expected to include high debt levels and mental health problems.

Nye Cominetti, an economist at the think-tank, said: ‘While the UK’s economic prospects are finally looking up, job insecurity remains high, particularly among those who have spent long periods not working or who are currently furloughed.

The Chancellor must use his Budget to set out his own roadmap for phasing out the furlough scheme gradually and in a way that acknowledges where the risks of rising unemployment are highest – in sectors like hospitality.

‘This would keep a lid on rising unemployment and encourage firms to bring back existing workers while tax breaks on hiring could help more people to move jobs too.’

A survey by the British Chambers of Commerce found one in four companies will have to lay off staff unless furlough support is extended beyond April 30.

It also showed sales had tumbled at 61 per cent of firms in the past three months and 23 per cent risk running out of cash.

Report estimates the pandemic will leave behind high debt levels and mental health problems

A major leap in worklessness after the pandemic would end almost a decade of record high employment levels and introduce economic pressures and pains that have not been seen since the banking collapse of the late 2000s.

The Resolution Foundation report said that last month 700,000 workers had been unemployed for at least six months and a further 500,000 had been on full furlough, working no hours at all, for the same period.

But it said that because people have been moving between unemployment and furlough, the real number who had not worked since the summer of 2020 was 1.9 million.

A poll taken by YouGov among nearly 6,400 people late in January found that eight per cent of those in work were worried about unemployment over the next three months or had been told they would be redundant when lockdown lifts.

But among furloughed workers 21 per cent expect to lose their jobs.

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